ScreenFlow your iPad or iPhone

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iphonepic 03 ScreenFlow your iPad or iPhoneEvery iPad or iPhone screencaster has the obvious problem of not being able to record screencasts  directly from their device. We get feature requests all the time from people wanting to record tutorials or demos of them using an iPad or iPhone.

There isn’t a technical reason why you can’t record the iOS screen, but Apple have explicitly said they won’t approve applications that “abuse” the multitasking system of iOS to allow this kind of thing.

This seems to be a philosophical choice that Apple has made. I can speculate a few reasons why:

One might be that Apple doesn’t want applications that consume a lot of resources running in the background – sucking up battery life and making the device look bad.  The other issue might be that while ScreenFlow for iOS would have a useful purpose, other apps could use screen recording technology for malware, hacking and general “eavesdropping” on the device.  It’s for this reason, I believe, it makes it hard for Apple to allow this functionality officially.

That being said, there are a few ways that people have been able to get around this limitation and achieve this feat. Here are a few resources for those of you who feel adventurous and want to try it:

Do you have a different way that works for you? If so, we’d love to hear your process and how it works for you.


15 Responses to “ScreenFlow your iPad or iPhone”

  • 1 SierraX Says:

    I do some Tests with VGA2USB but the quality is poor like the cheap-and-dirty way from TUAW.
    As soon as I have the money left, I will try it with the matrox mxo2 mini. There are not so many other ways for recording good quality of picture and sound from iDevice to a new MBP

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  • 2 Veit Says:

    Actually, good news -- a new app called Reflection was released that allows you to mirror your iPad or iPhone on your Mac. I downloaded a trial and had no problems recording a game played on my iPad in Screenflow on my iMac. No cables to connect -- just WiFi. The entire screen plus audio gets mirrored and I could record everything except for the audio (I’m sure there’s a trick to recording it, that I just didn’t find after 10 minutes of playing with it).

    So check it out at http://www.reflectionapp.com/ -- a single-user license is $14.99, thus much cheaper than any hardware-based solutions…

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    Lynn Elliott Reply:

    Excellent! It sounds like Reflection is filling a very definite need in this market!

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    Joseph Reply:

    Did you determine how to record the audio using Reflection?

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    Lynn Elliott Reply:

    Here’s a demo from Ed Dale putting Reflection through its paces to record his ipad Bit.ly/z2jhD8

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    Joseph Reply:

    Thanks Lynn. I purchased Reflection today. Great combo with Screenflow.

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    Lynn Elliott Reply:

    I just realized you were asking specifically about recording audio. Are you able to do that while
    Recording the screen with reflection?

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  • 3 Skippy Says:

    FYI -- there is a great new application called Reflection that uses OS X Lion and Air Play to project the ipad2 or iPhone 4S display on a Mac monitor! So now you CAN have the display somewhere that you can capture it with Screenflow! More info and a time limited demo are at reflectionapp.com.

    You’re all very welcome !! :D

    By the way, hardcore Screenflow user (since V1) here. I have lots of video tutorials for electronic musicians at youTube and all but the first few use Screenflow. I used to use FinalCut Express and Screenflow has saved my DAYS of render time. http://www.youtube.com/thepluginguru

    Cheers!

    - Skippy

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    Lynn Elliott Reply:

    Thanks Skippy, I will definitely check out Reflection. Thanks! And thanks for the tuts.

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  • 4 Frank Lowney Says:

    I’ve been experimenting with Blackmagic design’s Intensity Pro card which works extremely well with ScreenFlow Here’s a demo: http://hercules.gcsu.edu/~flowney/screencasts/iPad_Demo_2012/ I’ve not added an iPad frame but that would be trivial to do. I prefer ScreenFlow capture to what Blackmagic offers because the latter produces uncompressed QuickTime files that are HUGE!

    I’ve also looked at Reflection which I like very much. Here’s a demo of that: http://podcasting.usg.edu/4DCGI/Podcasting/GCSU/Episodes/13981/51319746.mov
    You’ll see a few video oddities but I think that these will be resolved as the software matures.

    Still remaining is the issue that Don McAllister describes at length, detecting and displaying pre-touch and touch events. There are really two parts of this problem. Detecting and displaying touch events would have to happen in a particular app (as Boinx has done with Tilt/Shift) or, for our purposes, via the OS. Thus, only Apple can implement this and I see no reasons for them to do so. The other problem is illustrating the pre-touch events (hand/finger getting ready to touch). The OS can’t help us there at all.

    However, ScreenFlow could come to the rescue with the following new feature: cursor choreographing. Here’s how I see that working. ScreenFlow provides a way to animate a hand/figure cursor with varying levels of transparency. This is already largely present with custom cursors. To this we add what is called “animation on a path.” This is usually done by drawing a line on the screen that the animation will follow. A basic approach to this would be to provide timeline-based path drawing tools. Lay out a path over time, play the video, adjust the line, repeat until satisfied.

    An elegant way to do this in post would be to manipulate the custom cursor while the screencast is playing. ScreenFlow would record the cursor movement and touch events on an Apple Magic Trackpad.

    Cursor choreography would also be of use in screen casting MacOS X. It would be a great way to smooth-out the erratic cursor dances we sometimes produce.

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  • 5 Alan Houser Says:

    This is a tricky one, but not because only the output is different. But the biggest difference is the input, or specifically gestures.

    The only way to truly experience USING an iPhone/iPad is to hold it and use it. :-) So then capturing the “display” of an iOs device should include the most-important aspect: the user’s hand.

    I would suggest a document camera + output combo. Document cameras can be expensive, but if you want a truly professional video of a user interacting with an iOs device, use a camera. Apple does this for their live audience because the user interface is best experienced with the user’s hand. Simple.

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  • 6 Timothy McKean Says:

    Similar to the reflection app, I have had success with Air Server app for Mac and Windows.

    I have a video tutorial for it here, or you can find it on YouTube as well.
    http://www.edtechmoment.com/2012/etm030

    Nice thing about Screenflow is the ability to do a PIP, so I set up a camera on the iPad as well as capturing the screen so that viewers could see the screen clearly in the screen capture, but also see the hand gestures that I was using in the PIP.

    Let me know what you think.
    @edtechmoment

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  • 7 view the webpage right here Says:

    I didnt know that before reading that, thx!

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  • 8 Mapsy Says:

    If you use a doc cam to record both the device and the user’s hand, how do you handle the problem of reflections on the device’s screen?

    You’ve got to have light, so we see the hand, yet you wouldn’t want reflections of your light, or the ceiling, or the user’s face, to appear reflected on the iPad’s screen.

    How would you handle that challenge? Ideas?

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    Lynn Elliott Reply:

    Our solution is to NOT record the device with an external camera, but instead screencast a simulation of the application and then use videos of hands swiping to show action. (see Flowtility for an example of ‘hand swiping’ motion graphics http://www.telestream.net/screenflow/partners.htm#flowtility). But I’d love to hear what others say…

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